Siloam Springs, Ark. (September 16, 2006) - A frustrating season began to look a little more promising for the John Brown Golden Eagles as they picked up their first win of the 2006 season against Science & Arts (Okla.) Saturday in Siloam Springs. Senior forward Nikki Ganter scored in the 61st minute, and the Golden Eagle defense hung on for the 1-0 victory.
The entire first half passed without either team truly threatening to score. The big turning point of the match came when Ganter took a short corner-kick from freshman midfielder Claire Stitt and drove it into the left corner of the Science & Arts net from eight yards out on the right side. The Drovers often had control of the ball deep in Golden Eagle territory from that point until the 90th minute but were unable to score. John Brown goalkeeper Natalie Wall posted the shutout with 6 saves.
Excepting the outcome, the match was similar to other John Brown games this season. Head coach Joe Thoma said, “This game was a lot like Wednesday’s in Oklahoma City. We definitely played well enough to win the game. Today we played very well defensively, even though we were very offensive. We played smart in the back.”
Improvements were easy to spot. Though their offense attempted only seven shots-on-goal, the Golden Eagles held onto the ball much better than in past matches. Their defense stifled numerous Science & Arts rallies, especially in the final ten minutes, and recorded its first shutout of the season.
The win provided a much-needed morale boost to the John Brown team. Before Saturday, John Brown had lost six games in a row: one in last season’s NAIA National Tournament, and five since this season began on Aug. 25. Science & Arts, meanwhile, entered the match 5-0-1. “The girls were heartbroken after Wednesday at OCU,” Thoma referred to their conference opener. “But we had a good practice yesterday and played well again today.”
John Brown (1-5-0, 1-1-0) travels to Northwestern Oklahoma State on Tuesday to continue Sooner Athletic Conference play. Game time will be 6:00.